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The Flat River Watershed 

The Flat River is a designated Natural River which flows through Montcalm, Ionia, and Kent counties. The entire system contains 147.8 miles of stream. The main stream, which originates in Six Lakes, extends 70 miles south, flowing through Greenville and Belding before reaching the Grand River in Lowell.


The Flat River Watershed drains approximately 564 square miles of land. Over half of this land is used for agriculture and over 40% is made up of a combination of forests, wetlands and open water.

Recreation Opportunities

  • Canoeing and kayaking 

  • Smallmouth bass fishing

  • Hiking and biking on local trails

  • Birding

of the Flat River
  • Clear Lake 

  • Townline Creek 

  • Fifth Lake 

  • Mud Lake 

  • Hunter Lake 

  • Clear Creek 

  • Alder Creek Drain 

  • Perch Lake 

  • County Farm Pond

  • ​Twin Lakes 

  • Sanderson Lake 

  • Coopers Creek 

  • Wabasis Creek 

  • Dickerson Creek 

  • Long Lake 

  • Honey Lake 

  • Seely Creek 

  • Page Creek 

Subwatersheds of the Flat.jpg
EGLE 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Grant:
Water Quality Improvements in the Flat River Watershed

EGLE 319 NPS Pollution Grants are used to fund the protection and improvement of water quality efforts in watersheds. Non-point source (NPS) pollution occurs when precipitation or wind carry pollutants from land into bodies of water. ​

The Flat River Watershed Council was a partner in creating the Flat River Watershed Management Plan which was utilized in the making of the Flat River Watershed 319 EGLE Grant, held by the Montcalm Conservation District.

Priority NPS Pollutants in the Flat River Watershed

Sediment Erosion

from exposed topsoil stemming from minimal ground cover and flashy flows.

Phosphorus & Nitrogen

from the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers.

E. coli

from firstly human waste via septic system malfunction and secondly animal waste via runoff

319 Flat River Grant Focus Areas
  1. Protect High Biorarity Area through Conservation Easement

  2. Adopt Natural River Act Ordinances

  3. Provide Septic System Education through Mailers & Workshops

  4. Hold Farmer-Led Workgroups

  5. Install Agricultural Best Management Practices (Ag BMPs) and Natural Shorelines

For water quality information about public and private beaches, visit the Michigan Beachguard website or Mid-Michigan Health Department Recreational Water.

Other Resources
What Can I Do?
  • Practice the EPA's SepticSmart tips to reduce septic pollution, like having your system pumped every 2-5 years.  

  • Use fertilizers and pesticides responsibly to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous contamination.

  • Utilize agricultural best management practices, when applicable, to reduce erosion.

  • Maintain natural shorelines to reduce shoreline erosion and create wildlife habitat.

  • Plant native buffers to reduce runoff.

The Flat River Watershed Council was created to protect, enhance and maintain land and water quality and other natural resources in the Flat River Watershed. It was founded in 2011 by a group of people who enjoy recreating on and along the Flat River and wanted to ensure that this resource would be enjoyed by future generations. The Flat River Watershed Council was a partner in creating the first Watershed Management Plan for the Flat River. They also partner with the Montcalm Conservation District to put on educational events, stream sampling, and river cleanups.

The Council meets on the third Monday of every odd numbered month at 6:00 p.m. However, the location of the meetings is subject to change. Please contact Montcalm Conservation District to confirm meeting details.


The next Flat River Watershed Council meeting will be held on July15, 2024, at 

6:00 p.m. at the Flat River Community Library

(200 W. Judd St. Greenville, MI 48838).

FRWC Minutes
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